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Writing

Know your why

Peter Havers
|
May 20, 2020

In this monthly series on writing, we’ll be exploring the questions worth asking if you want your brand to stand out. And, we’ll be shining a light on the startups and founder-led brands that are thriving, having done just that.

At Cousin, we have a saying:

“Good copywriting isn’t about the words you write. It’s about the thinking that underpins them.”

We believe the most effective way to write engaging copy is to know exactly who you are and what you’re trying to say.

So, here’s a question.

Imagine you’re writing user profiles for your target audience. You’ve identified “Megan, 23 from Leeds” and “Max, 27 from London” as your ideal customers. Your boss is going to love it.

But how many other brands are targeting those very same people? How many competitors are competing for the same 10 seconds of their time?

The question is, of course, rhetorical, but it raises an important point.

In today’s busy world, how do you avoid fighting for attention? How can you give yourself the best chance of standing out?

The answer is as cliched as it is simple: stop playing the same game as your competitors.

Or, as the American author, Simon Sinek, puts it, “start with why”. [1]

The “challenger fintech brand”, Azimo, does just that. [2]

Much like Skrill and MoneyGram, Azimo is an international money transfer service. They offer a near-identical offering to almost all of their competitors.

But, even in such a tight market, Azimo stands out.

Their ‘why’ — to improve “millions of lives by supporting migrants sending money home” [1] — is front and centre in everything they do. Everything from their name — ‘support’ in Swahili — to their comms supports their vision.

Azimo is a lighthouse. They’re not chasing customers. They’re standing strong in their beliefs and guiding them into port. And by port, we mean their sales funnel.  

If you’re working hard to support your family, or believe that ‘hard work deserves more,’ Azimo is the brand for you.

Take a look at this ad of theirs from last December:

Here's the transcript:

“We’re all on a journey. Some roads are longer than others. When you’re far from home, you’ve got to wake up that bit earlier. Work that bit harder. Stay focussed. Keep going. Learn new things. Push away the doubt. Keep going. And when you get there, your hard work deserves more. Azimo: faster, cheaper, global money transfers.”

The script is 57 words long. The video took just 45 seconds of your time. But that was all Azimo needed.

The ad didn’t need to stress product features or what sets them apart from competitors.

Instead, it acted as clever piece of positioning. It said, “We’re Azimo. We’re here. If you like what you see, check us out. If not, don’t worry about it”.  

Azimo attracted customers. It didn’t chase them.

So, next time you’re writing copy, ask yourself this: ‘what do you stand for?’

You’re a lighthouse, after all.


[1]  For more on Simon's mantra, we highly recommend watching his now-famous TED Talk. undefined
[2] https://lbbonline.com/news/2050-champions-the-hard-work-of-migrants-in-campaign-for-money-transfer-service-azimo/  

Peter Havers

Writer & Content Strategist

Peter helps brands to maximise the impact of the words they write. He does so in a variety of ways; from reporting on the Tone of Voice used on social media accounts, to conducting ‘copy audits’ — line-by-line breakdowns of written work. He’s driven by the belief that small changes have the power to make big differences. When he’s not mulling over words at Cousin, you’ll find Peter trying out one of the many thousands of restaurants in London.

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